Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Jane and Lee's Big Adventure

Recently the wife and I took a weekend off to go to a drag race. The drag race in question (The Meltdown Drags) is an annual event which seeks to take the spectators and participants back to a mid '60s drag strip experience. Now, attending was kind of a "spur of the moment" thing.  When I brought it up a scant week in advance, I received absolutely zero resistance to the idea from Jane.  In fact, as I have mentioned to more than one person, Jane's sense of adventure is certainly alive and well - more so than my own in fact.  Since The Knuckledragger was built to be period correct for 1955, it would fit right in at the Meltdown Drags.  But in the spirit of the event, Jane insisted that we go the extra mile (or 385 miles to be precise) and put the bike on our open trailer and tow it behind our '46 Studebaker pickup.   I must admit I had reservations about taking such an antique rig from our home in Minnesota all the way to Illinois, but as is so often the case my wife was right and all went well.  So, a 770 mile round trip in a 1946 Studebaker (powered by a Studebaker flathead six I might add) towing a 1947 Knucklehead drag bike on a trailer built out of a 1941 Studebaker Champion frame, and somehow neither Jane nor I managed to snap a picture of it... go figure?
[EDIT- After mentioning here that we did not take a picture of the rig, Jay and Irish teamed up to get one to me.  Thanks guys.]
And here it is.
Wheelstands by straight axle gassers was the order of the day.  Very fun to watch.

The crew from the A/h Garage was on hand and made us feel welcome from the get go.

First start up of the Knuckledragger in over 2 years
This invention by Demaar of the A/h Garage, a dolly for the front wheel & towed by a three wheeler, was ingenious and very handy.  Since we were pitted all the way down by the time slip booth, the guys were kind enough to tow the Knuckledragger to tech and to the staging lanes
Jay from "Fear No Evo Drag Racing" along with Dash (?) and Motorman from "A/h Garage" in the staging lanes.  Big inch Pan versus even bigger inch Harmon. 
Another shot taken in the staging lanes.
Chris, also of the A/h Garage, on an Iron Head Sportster
Roller starting at the head of the staging lanes.  The Byron Dragway staff was very gracious in letting us set up the electric rollers near the front of the staging lanes so bikes would not have to idle excessively.
Jay and Deemar pushing me from the rollers to the burn out area - saves on the clutch don't ya know.

A little action shot.  In fact very little action.

Just a very small portion of the spectators.  Word was they had record crowds.

Did I mention that wheelstands were the order of the day?

Before anyone asks, I will come clean and admit I made a far less than spectacular pass on the Knuckledragger.  Shifting problems continue to haunt me.  I may have sorted them out in time for a last pass, but to my chagrin the batteries for the roller starter were too weak to fire the motor.  I should have paid attention to the CCA rating of the second battery (which was on loan to me).  Turns out it was only half of what normally supplies the second 12 volts for the 24 volt system.  Oh well...

A big thanks both to Jay and to all the guys from the A/h Garage who made us feel at home and helped us out at every turn.  Also a big thanks to the Meltdown Drags Association and to Byron Dragways for making this awesome event happen.


Thursday, July 17, 2014

If Yer Gonna Melt Down, Here's the Place

The weather prognosticators say it will be a perfect weekend. There are over 500 entries, a few of which are vintage bikes.  Billed as the World's Largest Vintage Drag Meet, this looks to be the closest thing to a step back into the '60s as a gear head is likely to find!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

A Better Country

The 4th of July
The fourth of July. It is the day that most of us, as American citizens, celebrate the founding of this nation called the United States.  Many Christians celebrate it in part because of the Christian roots of this country.  In fact, if I may be so bold, I would suggest that some Christians take patriotism a bit too far.  They read scripture, particularly prophetic passages, and find the United States front and center.  

You know, during the 15 years that I have been Christian, I have read at least a small portion of scripture nearly every day. In doing that I have read the Bible through from cover to cover enough times that I have lost count.   In all that reading, I cannot recall a single instance where the Bible talks specifically about the United States of America.  Now, that is not to say that we can’t find anything in the Bible which applies to our nation. In fact 2 Timothy 3:16 says "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:"

If there is anything that this nation is in need of right now, I think we could argue that it is reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness! That is not to say that there ever was a time when our nation did not have this need, only that taken as a whole it seems that the United States is in the midst of abandoning all pretense of reliance upon the teaching of the Bible.

Many of our forefathers came to the new world seeking the freedom to worship God according to their understanding of the dictates of the Bible, rather than the dictates of the unholy alliances of churches and states. Later, when in the course of human events it became necessary for this people to dissolve the political bands which had connected them with England, they were careful to seek the guidance of Jehovah, the one true God. In making that declaration, they prefaced it with these words:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

Noble ideas, and possibly the first government which was not a theocracy to ever acknowledge that rights come from the creator rather than from kings or governments. In fact, one of the battle cries from the Revolutionary War is said to have been: No king but King Jesus!

Today however, there are many in our country who would like to say that this nation was never a Christian nation, but if one takes the time to look at the writings of those we call the founding fathers of the United States, one would be hard pressed to deny that the majority of them believed they were founding a nation based on Christian principles and reliant upon God. For many people, this is one of the reasons for their sense of patriotism. The phrase "for God and Country" resonates because of their love for God, and out of that love for God flows a love for the country which holds freedom of religion as one of its pillars. The very first amendment in the Bill of Rights of the constitution begins like this:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

Today, over 200 years later, this nation arguably still enjoys more religious freedom than any other country on earth.

All of this is good reason to celebrate the founding of this nation and to feel a sense of patriotism. On the other side of this coin, however, things don’t look so rosy. If you spend any time reading the Old Testament, particularly the books of Chronicles and Kings, one thing that becomes crystal clear is how God’s chosen people, the nation of Israel, were constantly in a cycle of backsliding, apostasy, and then finally a short lived revival. It played out over and over with the people falling into idolatry, often worshipping Jehovah alongside their false idols, and sometimes abandoning Jehovah altogether. If that happened in the nation which God chose for himself, why would we be surprised when it happens in our nation, no matter how good the intentions at its founding?

In fact, because of what they see taking place in our country today, many Christians have adopted this passage from 2 Chronicles 7:14 as God’s promise to them:

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

While I applaud the sentiment and highly recommend that we all do exactly those things: humble ourselves, pray, seek Jehovah’s face, and turn from our wicked ways, I am not sure of the long term results. That promise was made to Solomon when he was king of Israel but after the many repetitions of backsliding, apostasy and then revival, there finally came a time when no revival came. Judgment came upon the nation of Israel and it was scattered and remained that way for nearly 2000 years.

But we have a better promise than the one given to Solomon. We can find it in Philippians 3:20  "For our citizenship is in heaven; whence also we wait for a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:"

You might say we hold a dual citizenship, like the apostle Paul who was not only a Jew, but also a citizen of Rome. As Christians, we may be thankful to be American citizens and for all the blessings God has blessed us with here in the United States, but our far more important eternal citizenship is found in heaven and our far more important allegiance is to Jehovah.

So let’s just quickly look at a couple of our fellow citizens of heaven:

"By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:  For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable. These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.  For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.  And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.  But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city."  Hebrews 11: 8-16

In this section of scripture we not only have our nation put into perspective as merely a place of pilgrimage until we go to that better heavenly city, we also see how to obtain citizenship there. Unlike American citizenship, you are not born with it.  You can't receive it by passing a test and swearing and oath.  It is a citizenship which comes by faith. And this faith is not a insignificant thing for only citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem will be allowed in. If you have not already done so, won’t you put your faith in Jesus Christ, trusting that he has paid the penalty for your sins on the cross of Calvary? Won’t you turn from your sins and to Jesus? Won’t you make sure of your citizenship in heaven?